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Trump Decides Not to Participate in Republican Debate Next Week

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Trump Decides Not to Participate in Republican Debate Next Week

2019-09-18 11:19:09

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Bill Weld (Image source: Gary Johnson via Wikimedia Commons)

It seems Donald Trump does not believe in his own power to be elected. He does not want to be opposed. He has declined an invitation to debate two Republican challengers. They will still take the debate stage but will do so without him, and without a third challenger who is also choosing not to participate. 

Business Insider is hosting the 2020 Republican presidential candidates in a debate on Tuesday, September 24. It will be live-streamed on and the Facebook Watch page for Business Insider Today. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) will take the stage to debate. Missing will be Trump and former South Carolina congressman and Gov. Mark Sanford.

Four years ago Trump participated in all the major debates he was invited to, competing against 15 other opponents to eventually win the Republican nomination. As a non-politician, though, he had a lot more to prove then. 

Additionally, there will also be no primaries or caucuses in several states.

Walsh replied at the time of the canceled primaries announcement that "Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries," insisting that it's wrong and that "the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft." 

Weld stated, "We don't elect presidents by acclamation in America," adding that the president "is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own club."

The three challengers aren't being given much of a chance, at least at this point, as Trump has an 88 percent Gallup approval rating within the GOP, and the RNC is already backing him. 

But perhaps if he was forced to debate other Republicans, they would be able to cut into that stronghold he has on the rest of the Republican Party if he were forced to defend his actions to other Republicans and not just Democrats.

Weld, 74, was the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts from 1981 through 1986 before becoming the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division from 1986 through 1988 under the late President Ronald Reagan. He served as the governor of Massachusetts from 1991 through 1997 when he resigned after being nominated by former President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He withdrew his nomination when he was opposed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms.  

After a move to New York, he sought the Republican nomination for governor of New York in 2006 but dropped out when the GOP endorsed John Faso. He left the Republican Party in 2016 to be Gary Johnson's running mate on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016. He returned to the Republican Party before announcing he'd be challenging Trump in April 2019.

Walsh, 57, served just one term as a Tea Party congressman in Illinois from 2011 through 2013 after previous unsuccessful campaigns for Congress and the Illinois House. He became a radio talk show host after leaving office, and with Trump in office, went from being a strong supporter to a critic, announcing in August that he was challenging him. 

There doesn't seem to be many reasons for Trump to skip out on this debate. These two challengers seem to have been unsuccessful more often than successful.

Fear is possibly a motivating factor, but it's a hard jump to see why Trump would be fearful of debating these two. However, that would take him out of his comfort zone of complaining about the Democrats and the witch hunt against him.  

By declining this invite, Trump doesn't have to debate the topics that really matter and can stick to the topics that he knows will pump up his base.

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